Likeable, Lickable, Tarragon

If you think that bacon belongs with breakfast then you’d find Austin’s new source for ice cream a nightmare. Anthony Sobotik and his partner Chad Palmatier, owners of LICK, scoop Breakfast Bacon, any time of day, especially not at breakfast. An artisan of the artistic kind, Anthony dreams of new flavors, creating not only bacon flavored ice cream, but other equally inspired combinations, such as Thyme and Honey, Cilantro and Lime, and Caramelized Carrots and Tarragon. Flavors like these are made from the dreams of Anthony who has spent nights and days experimenting with his unusual combination of flavors, milk and cream.

From a family that include parents and grandparents making sausage, raising bees for honey, baking bread, Anthony was surrounded by food and cooking from an early age. By the time he was eight years old, he was in the family kitchen frying up a batch of pancakes and baking biscuits. The first book he ever purchased was a cookbook at an estate sale.

Picky about ingredients, he uses milk produced by small, Texan dairies, the kind that are rapidly disappearing. Anthony and Chad use milk from the few remaining small dairy farms in Texas, drawing upon fresh raw milk, locally pasteurized and regularly delivered to Lick for the next batch of ice cream. The Jersey cows at Texas Daily Harvest produce milk that Anthony combines with ingredients used to infuse his latest recipe with a balance of cream and milk. Chad, trained as an interior designer, and Anthony, a long-time baker, draw on their skills in a rare combination of artistry and taste. The flavors are not Austin-weird, but subtle, surprising, creating a flavor resonance between ingredients such as chocolate, cayenne, and chipotle.

But the pure pleasure of producing these rare, provocative flavors is not in itself enough for these two. The enjoyment of sharing their ice cream with families, the odd skeptic, and other visitors to their shop is part of their business. Using ice cream cones that they make in their shop, they scoop out their ice cream to their fans who are finding them through Facebook and word of mouth. Soon they will deliver their novel scoops to Austin’s farmers markets and a few local grocery stores. For now, they have their hands full of 16 flavors developed from seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other locally produced ingredients. Even the marshmallows used in their Ranch Road flavor are made in Austin.

Meanwhile, Anthony is experimenting with a dark chocolate, olive oil, sea salt flavor, which is refusing to yield just the right taste and texture. Back in his kitchen behind the ice cream counter, he is infusing, stirring, cooling, and applying his artistry, which will some day produce the new chocolate concoction. What will he dream up next?

Robyn Metcalfe, Winter 2012 Austin Food Warrior

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